The Things That Feed My Fears
The rational, irrational, and things I can’t believe exist in 2018.
My anxiety is in full swing these days. My mind rarely shuts down, overanalyzing things it shouldn’t, but mostly the things it should. Caught in a panicked state somewhere between fight and flight, ruled by “What if’s” and fear.
I watch my youngest daughter constantly, waiting to log the next episode of difficult breathing and chest pain. Noting the increasing frequency of red cheeks and unexplained sweating episodes. I’m scared of the why and what happens next.
Driving through downtown Richmond. Even the thought of riding as a passenger makes my throat start to tighten. There is no is no legitimate cause for the anxiety that overtakes me when thinking about driving, but it’s there and has been for five years. I just recently pushed myself to drive 25 miles away from home, which is amazing seeing how I only got myself to drive a handful of times from 2013 to 2017.
I watch my daughter constantly, wondering how I navigate a health care system that systematically dismisses symptoms of anxiety and chronic pain in females. I am scared thinking of the battle we must endure to get proper care as I watch politicians try to rip away the security provided to those with preexisting conditions.
Heights. I can’t make it four steps up a ladder without my legs going weak and feeling like I can’t breathe. It’s an irrational fear, nothing caused it, but it’s there and it limits me.
I wonder about my safety when out on my own. How long before I make my way up the list of targets who are harassed because they aren’t “White evangelical Christians?” After all, I might check white/Caucasian off on forms, but I’m the “white girl” that everyone assumes is Asian. How long before my darker skin and slightly slanted eyes are questioned by “Bible Belt” community surrounding me?
Snakes….F snakes! I didn’t go on my back porch for three weeks after one shed it’s skin right by the door. Even now, knowing that one has been there, I step cautiously, constantly on guard.
I fear for the 30% percent minority community in our rural county. They are surrounded mostly by those who proudly display political signs of known racist in their yards. I fear for them because I’ve overheard the local “gossip” full of presumptuous judgments simply based on their skin color.
The ways I feel like I’m failing as a wife, mother and even in taking care of myself are running through my mind constantly. They feed the self-doubt and intermittent rage I feel towards the non-existent village.
I fear for my friends who are fighting endless, tiring and battles far more frightening than my own while trying to protect their Trans children. They don’t just fight for basic rights, they fight for mere safety that most of take for granted.
So many things feed my fears and anxiety these days. A therapist might help, but a therapist won’t fix the health care system or put a stop to sexism. They won’t be able to fix our broken democracy or wipe out racism. They won’t be able to assure me that discrimination based on gender identity or religious beliefs is coming to an end. So I’ll keep taking deep breaths and using my anxiety to advocate and fight. Maybe, one day, things will get better, and then I might sit down and talk through the traffic, ladders, and snakes.